Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christianists Seek to Block California Anti-Bias Bill

I have previously done posts on California's recent passage of legislation that would bar discrimination in educational instruction in California public schools bias against groups of people identified in the state's hate crime statute. These protections would extend to the LGBT students. As is all too typical, the Christianists are acting as if the law is requiring they put their mothers to work as prostitutes or something similar given the hysterical manner in which they are reacting. Now, as the New York Times is reporting (, the Christianist Groups are seeking to subvert the duly enacted law. God forbid that gay students not be subject to abuse and discrimination due to their sexual orientation.
These people disgust me. Note in the highlights below how one of the leading groups hypocritically has the word "freedom" in its name. Its website also promotes the "Christian Nation" myth that I have debunked in prior posts. Their idea of freedom is that they can do whatever they want to whoever they want regardless of how harmful it may be and everyone else has no rights whatsoever. Obviously, they want a free hand to demonize gays and see how many teens they can drive to suicide. So very Christian - NOT. Karen England, one of the Christianist ring leaders is posted above left. Here are some story highlights:

LOS ANGELES — Conservative groups in California are gathering signatures to try to block an anti-discrimination bill because it includes language that would extend protection to public-school students based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, signed the bill in October, but it does not become law until Jan. 1. Opponents have until Jan. 10 to gather 500,000 signatures to put a referendum on the next ballot.

Lawyers for two groups, the Alliance Defense Fund and Advocates for Faith and Freedom, sued the state in a federal court in San Diego soon after the bill was signed to oppose the definition of “gender” and the inclusion of “sexual orientation” in the education code. California defines gender — along with other protected classes like race, nationality, disability and religion — as “actual or perceived.” The groups opposing the bill say that definition could lead to false accusations of discrimination. “This lawsuit argues that the redefinition of gender should be declared unconstitutional because it is too vague,” said Jennifer Monk, a lawyer for Advocates for Faith and Freedom.

“The same concocted concerns could theoretically apply to any of the categories,” said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who filed the motion to intervene on behalf of the two groups. “A student could identify as African-American or Muslim or Jewish, even if others do not perceive that student as such.” Mr. Minter said the complaint by the conservative groups sought to erase protections for only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths. “They are simply attacking L.G.B.T. students in California,” he said.

Until now, the definitions of categories like race, nationality, gender and sexual orientation existed only in the hate-crimes statute of the penal code. Educators had to consult education statutes and then cross-reference them with the penal code to navigate anti-discrimination laws. “What this bill did was clean up the code,” Mr. Minter said. “It was not a substantive change to the law.” California legislators amended the hate crimes statute in 1994 to define each of the protected classes as actual or perceived characteristics of identity.

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